There are three ways to promote an individual blog post on Facebook. The first is putting a link which automatically ads a thumbnail on your personal Facebook page. This is free and goes out to your friends as a Facebook comment. You can also do the same thing on Facebook pages you like but this may be perceived as spamming so I don't encourage that. The second is to put the link on your blog's Facebook page. That will go to anyone who has liked your blog's Facebook page. The third option is to use the post promotion option [Boost Post] below each post on your blog's Facebook page.
The Boost Post option opens a drop down menu where you can choose the desired audience, advertising budget and payment method. Now this is a very nice feature but unlike the blog advertising bloggers were used to using with the now defunct blog advertising networks, this advertising is pricey. It is however, reaching a much broader audience. Unlike the blog advertising networks where advertising was done only on blogs within that network which was a rather small audience, advertising on Facebook is reaching out to thousands of people who tend to like sharing what they find with their friends who in turn share with their friends and so on. Another huge difference between the blog advertising networks and Facebook Boost Post, is you aren't promoting your blog only one post on that blog. So, for $5 you can promote a blog post on Facebook for a reach of 790 to 1,500 Facebook users. That doesn't look like much. But consider if 10% of the 790 share a link to your blog, then 10% of those share the link, well it does snowball. In fact, if you are really lucky, a link to one of your blog posts could go viral.
The down side to the Boost Post option is of course the price. Most bloggers are not making a lot of money with their blogs. If they make enough to cover their costs, they are happy. This certainly is not going to be an option most bloggers use for just any post. Instead, I feel the Boost Post option is a good way to get readers to your blog via the extra special interest posts on your blog. That may mean a blog post that is already a rather popular one on search engine results which means anchor posts. For this reason, if using the Boost Post option, I think it is prudent to do a bit of blog analysis before buying a Boost Post option.
Here are my recommendations on how to use the Boost Post option on Facebook:
- use your stats - Your blog stats will help to determine which posts you should use the Boost Post option. Pay attention to the search referral for key words used to find posts on your blog. The visit page will help you determine the anchor posts on your blog manually. If you are using Statcounter, click on Popular Pages in the left hand column of your stats. This brings up a list of blog posts according to number of hits over the last 18 hours or period of your blog log. While this list will change certain blog posts will remain within the top 10 posts on your blog. Those are the posts best used for the Boost Post option.
- use an anchor post - An anchor post is one that has good content with information that readers are looking for so it consistently brings traffic to your blog via organic searches. A blog may only have a few anchor posts even if it has a large number of posts. The anchor post may be seasonal or event specific.
- seasonal posts - If an anchor post is seasonal (eg. Christmas recipes, bbq recipes, canning tips) promote this post close to the start of that season. Occasionally you may want to promote that anchor post again mid-season. For example, one of my most popular posts during the busy canning season (mid-May to mid-October) is how to home can green beans. This would be a post I would promote on Facebook using a Boost Post option about a week before beans are ready to start harvesting and since beans continue for awhile I would likely promote it again in 2 to 3 weeks time.
- targeting - There are two Boost Post targeting options. The first is to those who like your page and their friends. The second is to Facebook at large. I think Facebook at large is a better value for your dollar. Those who like your page have likely already shared one or more of your blog posts with their friends. Their friends and anyone checking out their profile providing it is public can also see their likes so your page will show that way as well. In other words, this is free advertising via Facebook. Targeting to Facebook at large will expose your blog's Facebook page to those who may otherwise not see it.
- thumbnails - If a blog post has one or more images, Facebook automatically creates an image for the url when the initial post is made. Prior to posting, you have the option to choose whether or not to use an image and if so which image to use as the thumbnail. Always choose the best image. For example, if a blog post has five pictures showing various stages of the process with the final image showing it completed, choose the completed one as the thumbnail. The reason being, it has more eye appeal and is more likely to get more interest.
- set a budget - Set a budget for your entire advertising costs for a month for your blog. Advertising on Facebook using the Boost Post option will use up at least $5 or more of your budget. The menu starts at $15 but you can change that.
- start small and go slow - See what you get for that $5. If you don't like the results, then you can try again with another post or move on to something else without being out a lot of money.